Riley Leonard ran for a pair of touchdowns and threw for another as Duke rolled past visiting Virginia 38-17 on an often-rainy Saturday night in Durham, N.C.
The Blue Devils (4-1, 1-0 ACC), who were playing in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener, eclipsed last year’s win total under first-year coach Mike Elko. It was Duke’s first conference victory since Oct. 10, 2020, a span of 13 consecutive league losses.
Virginia (2-3, 0-2) received a passing touchdown and a rushing score from quarterback Brennan Armstrong, but it has lost all three road games this season. The Cavaliers managed just 295 yards of total offense.
Leonard threw for 129 yards by completing 18 of 24 passes, and he ran for another 59. Teammate Jaylen Coleman was the game’s top rusher with 97 yards on 19 carries.
Duke built a 28-7 lead by scoring on its first possession of the second half on Leonard’s 1-yard run. After a goal-line stand punctuated by a sack resulted in a Virginia field goal, the Blue Devils put it away in the first minute of the fourth quarter on Jaquez Moore’s 59-yard run.
Jalon Calhoun caught Leonard’s 19-yard pass for the first points midway through the first quarter.
After Ryan Smith partially blocked a Virginia punt, the Blue Devils needed nine plays to go 58 yards, capped by Leonard’s 2-yard run.
Duke recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. The Blue Devils turned that into a 21-0 lead with Jordan Waters leaping into the end zone from 1 yard out on the 41-yard drive.
Virginia got on the board by driving 83 yards late in the first half, with Armstrong’s 11-yard pass to Perris Jones providing the points.
Armstrong finished 19-for-37 for 202 yards, with an interception.
Duke snapped a seven-game losing streak in the series with Virginia.